“The fear that clients have is that they may be more susceptible to leaving now simply because they don’t have the cultural norms, they don’t have the personal loyalty or allegiances to people,” said Alan Johnson, head of compensation consulting firm Johnson Associates Inc.

Wall Street banks were already struggling to attract and retain young talent before the pandemic.

Investment firms and technology companies were luring young staff with comparable pay and shorter hours. Plus, Wall Street’s reputation suffered from the 2007-2009 financial crisis and a spate of junior-staffer deaths attributed to grueling schedules.

Banks rolled out policies to boost morale, including limits on how many hours analysts could work. But negative experiences during the pandemic may harm retention in an industry that sees about 85% of analysts leave investment banks within two years, according to recruiting firms.

“On the turnover side, March or April will begin to tell the tale,” Johnson said. “I have told (clients) they’re going to see an unusual amount.”

Reuters / January 27, 2021